Sunday, November 29, 2009

Butternut Squash and Spinach Stuffed Shells with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

I know I've declared my love for brown butter sage sauce before...but if I could just take this moment to reiterate HOW MUCH I LOVE IT. Okay moving on, I realize it is not the healthiest of options, but hey, we're in that magical month between Thanksgiving and Christmas where you can eat whatever you want, right (or am I the only one that subscribes to this philosophy)?

I saw these guys on Lime in the Cocunut, who originally saw them on the Proud Italian Cook. Sadly, neither of their delicious looking posts had recipes with measurements, and you can see that my shells came out looking a bit different than theirs.

From the looks of it, it seems I added a bit less parmesan (oh - and now I just realized I didn't add the egg from PIC's recipe either!) than they did, although I must say, these were still incredibly delicious and I have no regrets!

Adapted from Proud Italian Cook


8 pasta shells
1/2 butternut squash
1/2 bag fresh spinach
1 garlic clove (minced)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup ricotta
pinch nutmeg
olive oil
1/2 stick butter
6 - 8 sage leaves

*Dice the butternut squash and roast at 425 for 15 - 20 minutes or until tender, tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper

*Cook the shells to al dente

*Meanwhile, saute the fresh spinach with olive oil, garlic and salt & pepper until cooked down.

*In a bowl, combine butternut squash and spinach and blend using an immersion blender

*Mix in the parmesan and ricotta cheese

*Spoon the mixture onto the cooked shells and put back into the oven (no need to adjust temp) for about 15 minutes, until heated through.

*While shells are cooking, make the brown butter sage sauch (melt the butter in a pan with the sage, allow butter to brown and sage to get crispy)

*Spoon the sauce over the cooked shells and serve.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Broken LG Dishwasher : (

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile - but its been rather difficult to maneuver in our kitchen lately due to our dishwasher acting up.
After several repair calls, we've come to the conclusion that our (not even two year old LG model LDFL7811ST) is definitely terminal. Instead of pumping any more money into repairs - we've decided to buy a new one...any recommendation (NOT and LG!)???

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cheesy, Bacony Potato Soup

As the weather starts getting colder, nothing beats making a big pot of soup and letting it simmer on the stove all day.

In our house, I can never go wrong with cheese, bacon and potato combinations : )

And while I wouldn't dare call this soup healthy, this method of cooking it is a nice way to get a thick, velvety texture without the traditional method of making a rue. I suppose if you forgo the bacon and cheese topping you could call it healthy, but I'm not sure its worth it.

Potato Soup

4 russet potatoes
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup milk or cream
1 tsp garlic powder
salt, pepper (season to taste)

4 - 6 strips bacon, chopped and cooked till crispy
Shredded cheddar cheese
3 - 4 scallions, chopped

* Cube the potatoes, and add to a pan with the chicken stock. The chicken stock should completely cover them, if it does not add water. Add a dash of salt, pepper and garlic powder and bring to a boil.

* Turn down to medium-low heat and simmer until the potatoes are cooked thoroughly. Turn off heat.

* With an immersion blender (if you do not have one, you can transfer this to a regular blender) blend the soup until the potatoes are thoroughly incorporated and you a smooth consistency

* Add the milk and heat till simmering

* Serve and top with cheese, bacon and scallions

Pumpkin Bread & I discovered the macro setting on my camera!!!

So this time of year, there are no shortage of pumpkin bread posts - but I just had to share this one because it was while I was taking the photos that I finally discovered the macro setting on my camera. I'm really not sure why it took me this long, every photo tutorial I read for food photography says to use it. I think I just assumed that I already was or my camera didn't have it.

Regardless, I am really jazzed about being able to actually show you my food up close (however I have some very blurry pictures of our friends tailgating the next day, I'll have to show Joe how to switch it back to people mode : ). The last few entries I have used it, but I felt like this was a really good example of how you can see the detail of the bread.

Although this bread was super delicious, this is a very bittersweet post for me, as our Jack Russell Terrier was the one who really got to enjoy it. After Joe and I were able to enjoy a slice each, Molly jumped on the counter and treated herself to the rest of it.

I highly recommend making this bread, and keeping it away from your dog!

Pumpkin Nut Loaf
Source: Good things Catered

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/3 c. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. chopped walnuts, plus more for topping

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare loaf pan (or mini loaf pans)
-In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, powder, salt, spices and whisk to combine.
-In large bowl of mixer beat oil, butter and sugars until creamy until lightened in color and texture, about 3 minutes.
-Beat in eggs one at a time.
-Add pumpkin puree and beat until combined; scrape down sides of bowl.
-Add milk and vanilla and beat until combined; scrape down sides of bowl.
-With mixer on lowest setting, add flour mixture just until barely combined.
-Remove bowl from mixer and fold in 1 c. walnuts.
-Scrape batter into pan(s) and spread evenly.
-Top with extra chopped walnuts and place into oven.
-Bake about until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour for regular loaf and 35-40 minutes for mini loaf.
-Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 20 minutes.
-Turn out onto wire rack and let cool completely.